Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meet Pearl

We had the opportunity to watch a trainer work with Pearl. A Bald Eagle who had been shot in the wing. Because the wing was permanently damaged, she will not be released into the wild - unless she chooses to fly off by her self. Lily, her trainer said that Pearl has had many opportunities to take off, but has always chosen to stay. She has stayed for over 15 years now. Her home is under the deck. She has a big rock perch and a view outside (and inside through the window) Eagles are social birds and she chose to make that her home rather than a roost down the hill.
Even though it was a breezy afternoon, Pearl wasn't in a soaring mood. Lily said that this would be her last public flying for the season. Eagles are in their prime in the winter. During the summer they molt their feathers - it takes a lot of energy to grow feathers, so they are allowed a summer vacation to build reserves for the next season. In order to keep Pearl, Lily also has to use her for public education. It was fascinating to learn of how a falconer handles birds and the fact that they are wild animals.Here she had just come out of her cage and Oma great got a close up look before Pearl was given a chance to stretch her wings.
It is illegal to have eagle feathers. All of the feathers Pearl looses are kept for use by falconers to splice onto broken feathers that birds have broken. Lily and her family don't get any pay or help with feeding and care of the birds. She takes Pearl to schools and other functions for demonstrations. She also has had the opportunity to work with film makers who need a bald eagle in their movies.
After showing off, Pearl got a treat (duck and goose heads) She liked that a lot. I didn't get a good photo of Pearl with her wings spread or flying. (my camera is too slow) but it was magnificent. It was awesome to see her hop and walk on the ground. Lily also takes care of a golden eagle who lost half of a wing (gun shot) and will never fly again. It is so sad to realize that these regal birds are in captivity because of man's cruelty -isn't living in the wild dangerous enough? Thank you to the Wilkinson's for making this adventure possible.

1 comment:

Mrs. Simpson said...

Whoa! I've never seen one close-up. What a cool experience for the kids to get up to one.